Richard Hugo has selected William Virgil Davis's One Way to Reconstruct the Scene as the 1979 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. In his foreword to the volume Hugo says:
"William Virgil Davis is a poet who, when he writes, contends with a loving self who wants to render the world as found. His battle is the classic one, the memory versus the imagination. . . . 'Memory is the first property of loss,' Davis tells us, and that may be true. At least it is worth considering. Certainly a scene, no matter how initially unattractive, reconstructed lovingly in active language posing as passive recall is a true property of gain. Davis believes in and works to create a world we can humanely attend the second time around, and his poems often provide that second chance."